Beautiful. Compassionate. Giving. Those are all words people have used to describe Cori Salchert’s vocation.


She adopts "hospice babies," infants who are dying, and cares for them until it is their time to go. Salchert’s desire to help sick children goes back to her childhood when her sister Amie contracted spinal meningitis. 
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"After the high fevers from the infection destroyed quite a bit of her brain function, leaving her mentally and physical handicapped, she went to live in a children's home for kids who were severely impaired like she was," she wrote in an article on "Today."

"When Amie was 11, she wandered out of an unlocked door at this children's home and drowned in a pond on a nearby golf course. She was most likely alone and struggling to understand why she couldn't breathe and there was no one there to help her. Throughout my life, I struggled with the question, ‘Where was God when my sister needed Him most?' "

Salchert said she got the answer to that question over the course of her career, first as a nurse and then as owner of Hope After Loss, a grief organization that helps grieving families deal with the loss of a child.

Salchert, who has eight biological children, began adopting terminally ill children in 2012 when she brought home Emmalynn. 

Emmalynn was born without most of her brain — she only had a functioning brain stem — and lived for 50 days before dying.

"I was snuggling Emmalynn into my furry, warm bathrobe, holding her on my chest and singing 'Jesus Loves Me' to her, when it occurred to me that I had not heard her breathe for a few minutes,” Salchert wrote on "Today."

"I leaned her back to look at her, and saw that this beautiful creature was gone. She'd left this world hearing my heartbeat. She didn't suffer, she wasn't in pain, and she most certainly wasn't alone. It was painful initially. Gradually we were able to see the opportunity to hold her through this life and as she entered the next solely as a gift."

After Emmalynn passed, Salchert was reticent to adopt another child, but was motivated by her family to do it.

Mary Elisabeth, one of the Salcherts' daughters, told her, "Mom, what if some kid really needs us and you're just sitting here with a broken heart?"

Encouraged by her family, Salchert adopted Charlie in 2014.

According to the Sheboygan Press, Charlie has hypoxic ischemic brain encephalopathy, which means his brain gets damaged due to a lack of oxygen. 

He is also reliant on a tracheostomy, ventilator and tube feeding.

Like Emmalynn, due to his medical challenges, Charlie will eventually die. According to Salchert, he is already on life support and has been resuscitated 10 times in the past year.

"He will die; there’s no changing that,” said Cori Salchert to the Sheboygan Press. "But, we can make a difference in how he lives, and the difference for Charlie is that he will be loved before he dies."